Monday, April 04, 2011
ProjeKct Four Fox Theatre 1998
Fox Theatre, Boulder
When King Crimson hit creative troubles during 1997‘s writing rehearsals in Nashville, Robert Fripp’s novel solution was to break the band into different components to try and them play their way out of the problem. Aside from some outline sketches central to the concept of the ProjeKcts was a degree of onstage improvisation that hadn’t been witnessed since the beginnings of the Boz-era incarnation of April 1971, or Crimso’s remarkable Larks’ rising of 72-74.
The ProjeKct solution was the perfect antidote a slightly creaking degree of rigidity that had infected the bones of the Double Trio, and a brave one which sought to undertake major surgery on a patient that was fully conscious at the time.
Of all the ProjeKct’s it’s P4 that stands out as the ‘could’ve been Crimson’, that is, a configuration armed with the instrumental fire power capable of taking a shot at the dread, ominous power generated when the parent group was in full flow.
Given the edgy, wild-card tactics and take-no-prisoners feel that accompanied much of ProjeKct’s output, especially that of P4, The ConstruKction of Light released in 2000 was inevitably something of an anticlimax; more of a diplomatic rapprochement between two wings of the group's make-up, than a fully-developed manifesto of a new millennium.
What made P4 the most successful of an ambitious solution to Crimson’s late-90s creative impasse, was its near-reckless willingness to veer sharply to the left at the most apparently inopportune moments, thus increasing the sense of risk with almost every beat per minute.
Because we know the themes and motifs that would later be incorporated into more conventional voicings on TCOL, we hear this music now with a degree of familiarity that simply wasn’t available to members of this audience nearly 13 years ago.
Back then, it was a dizzying blur of sizzling interplay, monstrous solos, fast-moving electronica, and a welter of ideas that clashed, splintered and often refused to resolve in a neat or tidy manner. It was exhilarating, heady stuff at the time, and it remains so today.
This concert is available to download here.